Going Deeper: Reflection

Three Additional Approaches to Reflection

Adult educator, Patricia Cranton, suggests 3 approaches to reflection: content, process, and premise.

Content reflection is an exploration of the content of a problem. If a car breaks down, a mechanic examines the engine to figure out what is going on.


In process reflection, rather than being focused on the engine, the mechanic thinks about the best way to solve the problem. What resources will be helpful? What experts or manuals need to be consulted” What kinds of tools will be useful?

Lastly, in premise reflection, we invite the learner to take a step back from the situation and ask underlying questions. Why am I fixing this car? Is it worth fixing? Do I really need a new engine or a brand-new car?

“When I work with adults, whether students, supervisors, or congregation members, I cannot miss out on one of these strands. People cannot address premise questions if they don’t have a handle on the problem, or they are too embedded in the problem. People feel hollowness in practice or content if they don’t have a sense of relevance that is addressed in premise reflection. We can marshal all kinds of wonderful tools for preaching but if we don’t have a sense of what preaching is all about then we cannot bring focus or commitment to the task.”